ISIS Equity and Inov-8 get in the running for international growth

ISIS Equity Partners has completed an investment in Inoveight Holdings Limited, the company behind the minimalist run shoe brand Inov-8. The investment by ISIS will support the business in continued expansion into new markets and further develop Inov-8’s established track record of new product development.

The transaction was led by Mark Advani and James Titmuss (2010 English Fell Running Team Gold Medal winner) from ISIS’s Manchester office.

Mark Advani and Adam Holloway of ISIS will join the board at Inov-8. It is worth noting that both Mark and Adam previously held board seats at online multisport retailer Wiggle, which was sold to Bridgepoint in December 2011 in a deal worth £180 million. (Wiggle continues to list a wide range of Inov-8 run shoes.)

Wayne Edy, Inov-8 founder, said “The management team and I are delighted to welcome our ISIS partners to the board, their expertise in working with dynamic, rapidly growing young businesses will be invaluable to the management team as we scale up our operations to meet growing international consumer demand.

“Finding an investment partner that understands the opportunities and potential created by new technology and innovative thinking in all areas of the business was crucial to accelerating our growth plans.”

Inov-8 is a performance sportswear brand primarily focused on technical off road running, functional fitness and minimalist road running products. Selling to customers in 58 countries across the globe, the brand’s major markets include the US, UK and Europe.

The unique design philosophy around Inov-8 products keeps the foot close to the ground when performing so that athletes can feel and adapt to the terrain beneath them allowing for improved proprioception and performance.

Inov-8 was founded by Wayne Edy in 2003 when he designed the first in a line of award-winning off-road running shoes, the mudroc 290. This original model gained acclaim in the mountain running community when Melissa Moon, a New Zealand born mountain runner won the 2003 World Mounting Running Association Trophy wearing a pair of mudroc 290s borrowed from a British friend.

In 2009 the brand began developing products for the fast growing US functional fitness market after it became clear that some off-road products were being adapted for different uses. The development of functional fitness products ‘turned already rapid expansion into explosive growth in 2011.’

In order to manage this rapid international expansion, Edy enlisted the support of Robert Perkins who joined the business in 2009. Robert has overseen the creation of a product development and marketing hub in the Lake District, in North West Englnad, as well as the integration and expansion of a US head office in the Boston area. The business has an international team of 44 with 17 new members of staff appointed in the last 12 months.

Mark Advani, Partner at ISIS Equity Partners added, “Inov-8 has an incredibly inspiring story so far. Wayne and Robert deserve immense credit for building the business from a singular racing product to a global brand of choice for committed athletes around the world. Inov-8 designs and makes great shoes for achieving and aspiring athletes. We are really looking forward to working with them to take the brand to the world. ”

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